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4 Things You Wish You Knew About Metal Roofs vs. Shingle Roofs

Posted on : August 27, 2023

4 Things You Wish You Knew About Metal Roofs vs. Shingle Roofs

Are you considering replacing your roof and finding yourself torn between choosing a metal roof or shingles? It's important to make an informed decision that suits your needs and preferences. In this blog post, we will explore the key factors you should consider when choosing between a metal roof and shingles.

From environmental impact to energy efficiency, aesthetics, maintenance, and more, we will delve into the most important factors to consider between a metal roof vs shingle roof. Whether you prioritize eco-friendliness or energy savings, this guide will help you make the best choice for your home. 

By the end of this blog post, you'll have a complete understanding of the pros and cons of these roofing materials, enabling you to choose the best option for your home with confidence.

Understanding Metal vs. Shingle Roofs

It’s important to understand what makes these two roofing systems different to fully see their benefits, uses, and points of comparison.

#1 Introducing Metal Roofs

Metal Roof

Metal roofs tell a story of innovation and craftsmanship that spans across cultures and centuries. These roofs, characterized by their remarkable panel designs and advanced fastening techniques, seamlessly blend functionality with aesthetics, offering high durability and architectural appeal. Steel, aluminum, copper, and tin are the most popular metals used for roofs.

Also Read: Best Metal Roofing Types & Products For East Coast Homes

Exploring Metal Roofing Panel Designs

The world of metal roofs boasts a diverse array of panel designs, each boasting its own charm and practical advantages. Some noteworthy designs include:

Standing Seam

Elegance meets functionality in this design, which is characterized by vertical panels featuring interlocking raised seams. With a flawless appearance, standing seam roofs effectively channel water away, making them a go-to choice for both residential and commercial projects.


The wave-like patterns of corrugated metal panels serve a dual purpose by enhancing strength while facilitating efficient water drainage. These panels have historically graced agricultural and industrial structures, and are praised for their resilience and cost-effectiveness.


Marked by linear ridges, ribbed panels combine strength with efficient water shedding. Often favored for commercial buildings, these panels reflect a balance between form and function.

Shingle/Shake Style

These are metal roofs that look like architectural shingles or wood shakes. For those who admire a traditional aesthetic, this fusion of classic charm and modern resilience captures the best of both worlds.

Tile Style

Metal tiles offer the allure of clay or slate tiles with the advantages of metal. Metal is less expensive and lighter than both clay and slate, making these tiles a cost-effective alternative. 

Metal Roof Fasteners

The way metal panels adhere to the roofing structure plays a pivotal role in their performance and longevity. Some fastening styles include:

Exposed Fasteners

This pragmatic approach involves securing panels using visible screws or nails. While cost-effective, it's important to note that over time, exposed fasteners could potentially compromise the roof's integrity due to potential leaks around fastener points.

Concealed Fasteners

Creating a sleek design, concealed fasteners remain hidden beneath overlapping panels. This approach not only exudes elegance but also minimizes the roof’s vulnerability to leaks. Standing seam roofs often use concealed fasteners.

In the next part of our discussion on metal roofs vs. shingles, let’s discuss asphalt shingles.

#2 Understanding Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt Shingles

The infusion of asphalt into roofing materials emerged in the 19th century as the byproduct of oil refining. When combined with other materials the asphalt displays remarkable water-resistant properties when combined with other material fibers. Roofing shingles, as we now know them, started to take form in the early 20th century. Advancements such as introducing an organic base mat and incorporating fiberglass reinforcement elevated their strength and resilience.

Different Types of Asphalt Shingles

Over time, many types of asphalt shingles have emerged, including the following:

3-Tab Shingles

With their enduring appeal, these shingles are characterized by a uniform appearance featuring three tabs. Their simplicity not only provides a cost-effective solution but also establishes a clean and timeless look.

Architectural Shingles

Architectural shingles are also referred to as dimensional or laminate shingles. Exhibiting texture and depth, these shingles offer a dynamic, layered appearance that emulates the aesthetics of wood or slate. Their thickness and durability further bolster their popularity.

Designer Shingles

Designer shingles mimic premium materials like cedar shakes, slate, and tile. These top-tier shingles blend aesthetics with the practicality of asphalt, offering a harmonious fusion of beauty and functionality.

Also Read: Best Value for Your Money: Budget or Premium Shingles?

Impact-Resistant Shingles

Impact-resistant shingles, designed to brave hail and other inclement conditions, emerge as a top choice for regions prone to severe weather. Their fortified construction enhances longevity, making them a sensible investment.

Cool Roof Shingles 

Cool roof shingles embrace an environmentally conscious approach by reflecting sunlight and reducing heat absorption. Their innovative craftsmanship not only curbs energy expenses but also contributes to an eco-friendly footprint.

Also Read: Best Roof Shingles Of 2023

Now, it’s time to compare these two popular roof options.

#3 Metal Roof vs. Shingles: A Cost Comparison

If you choose a metal roof over 3-tab shingles, you'll most likely save money in the long run due to the durability and longevity of metal. While the installation cost of a metal roof may be higher, the long-term benefits outweigh the upfront expenses.

At the same time, designer shingles may cost as much as some types of metal roofs and have a similar lifespan, while 3-tab shingles are less expensive.

Saving on Durability and Maintenance

Metal roofs are famous for their resistance to harsh weather, such as heavy rain, strong winds, and hail. Unlike shingles that may need frequent repairs or replacements, metal roofs can last for decades with minimal maintenance. This means that you won't have to spend a significant amount on repairs or replacements for your roof.

Energy Efficient Features

Another cost-saving aspect of metal roofs is their energy efficiency. Metal roofs are highly reflective, which means they can effectively repel sunlight and reduce the amount of heat absorbed by your home. This can result in lower energy bills, especially during hot summer months. 

Additionally, some metal roofs are designed with insulation layers that further enhance their energy efficiency, keeping your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. By decreasing your energy consumption, you can save money on utility bills and reduce your carbon footprint.

Shingles on the other hand, typically require more maintenance compared to metal roofs. Insulation is also needed with shingles to maintain their energy efficiency.

#4 Which Lasts Longer: A Metal Roof or Shingles?

When comparing the lifespan of metal roofs and shingles, metal roofs usually last longer– generally for decades due to their sturdy and resilient nature. 

Average Lifespan

Metal roofs are known for being long-lasting. Most metal roofs can last 50 years with minimum maintenance, while copper roofs can last for a century. Metal is highly resistant to hail, wind, and fire damage.

In the case of asphalt shingles, the average lifespan of 3-tab and architectural shingles is 15 to 20 years, whereas designer shingles provide protection for around 40 years.

Temperature Tolerance

Metal roofs also have a high tolerance for extreme temperatures, making them a reliable choice in both hot and cold climates. Additionally, metal roofs are less prone to cracking and warping, which are common issues with shingles in hot temperatures. This means that homeowners who choose a metal roof can enjoy peace of mind knowing that their investment will provide long-term protection for their home.

On the other hand, asphalt shingles tend to absorb heat, but there are some shingles from renowned manufacturers with heat-resistant properties. With proper installation and maintenance, asphalt shingles can easily withstand extreme temperatures. 

Resistance to Pest Infestation

Another advantage of metal roofs is their resistance to pests. Unlike shingles, which can attract insects and animals if not properly maintained, metal roofs do not provide a hospitable environment for any creatures. This eliminates the need for costly pest control measures and prevents potential damage to the roof structure. 

Water and Snow Shedding

Metal roofs tend to shed rain and snow more effectively than shingles, reducing the risk of water damage and leaks. This means that homeowners with metal roofs are less likely to encounter issues like mold or rot in their homes. 

Finally, you should also consider your budget, local climate, and your architectural preferences before making your decision. There are plenty of metal and asphalt shingle manufacturers, and you need to choose a product with the perfect blend of strength, design, and style. Moreover, there are other roofing options, such as composite shingles, roofing tiles, slate, and more that are worth exploring.

Metal Roofs vs. Shingle Roofs, And Other Options: How To Choose The Right Roofing Material For Your Home

The right choice not only enhances your home's aesthetics but also ensures durability, energy efficiency, and overall value. These tips can help you make a final decision:

Remember Your Climate

Your local climate holds the key to selecting the most suitable roofing material. If you live in a region with frequent rainfall, materials like asphalt shingles, metal roofing panels, or clay tiles can offer the protection you need. In areas where it is mostly sunny, opt for materials with excellent heat reflection to maintain a comfortable interior.

Understand Weight Requirements

Ensure your chosen roofing material aligns harmoniously with your home's structural capabilities. Materials like concrete tiles or slate are significantly heavier than other options, which may necessitate additional support. Collaborate with experts to determine if your home can accommodate your chosen material without additional support.

Navigating Warranties

When you have to choose between a metal roof and shingles, remember to think of product warranties as you browse. Taking the time to grasp the terms and conditions of warranties from various manufacturers can help you decide which product to go with. Longer warranties often signify the manufacturer's unwavering confidence in the robustness of their product.

Uncovering Tax Incentives

Explore local tax rebates and incentives that are available for those who opt for energy-efficient roofing materials like metal. There are federal and state financial perks for homeowners who embrace environmentally conscious choices. This benefits your wallet and adds an extra layer of value to your investment.

Insights Into Insurance

The choice of roofing material can have a huge impact on your insurance payments. Reach out to your insurance provider to know how your decision might sway your premium. Additionally, it's worth noting that materials impact your insurance claims differently, as less durable options, like 3-tab shingles, are considered to be more susceptible to damage.

Remember, these considerations can help guide you to your perfect roofing material. If you are looking for new roofing shingles or a metal roof for your home in Pennsylvania, you can trust us to be your reliable roof replacement partner.

Discuss Your Shingle or Metal Roofing Needs With The Experts

At McClellands Contracting and Roofing, we’ve been installing robust and captivating roofs in Pennsylvania for many years. Our team is passionate about home improvement projects, and we do our best to elevate the homes in our community. If you are looking for a new roof in Pittsburgh or the surrounding area, we’ve got you covered. We invite you to schedule a free consultation with our shingle and metal roofing experts and discuss all your roofing needs. Call us at (412) 353-5660, and let us show you how we can make your roofing dreams come true!

Frequently Asked Questions

A. While you can, it will most likely lead to trapped moisture, an uneven surface, and even gaps and cracks in the roof. This can lead to frequent repairs, and untimely, a full replacement.

A. There are several types of metal roofs available, including corrugated, standing seam, and metal shingles. Each one offers its own unique benefits and aesthetic appeal, providing homeowners with a wide range of options to choose from.

A. No, metal roofs are not noisier than shingle roofs during rainstorms. With proper insulation and underlayment, the noise level is comparable to, or even quieter, than shingle roofs.

A. No, metal roofing systems do not attract lightning any more than shingle roofs. Lightning strikes the highest point, regardless of the type of roof.

A. Yes, there are specific building codes and restrictions when installing metal roofs. These regulations vary by location and can cover aspects such as fire safety, wind resistance, and installation guidelines.

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